It’s 4:30 Pm, New Years Day. Friends will be arriving in 30 minutes for a New Year’s Day dinner party and suddenly a long list of things still needing to be done starts playing through my head: Mix up the champagne punch, pop the appetizers into the oven and get them onto a tray, put out the cheese and crackers, light the candles throughout the house and on the porch. How did it get to be 4:30 so fast?! Yikes! Time to throw it into high gear!
I love balloons so I added a few to the mailbox. It’s a fun way to help those folks who have never visited your home before, know they are at the right address. I got a little nostalgic bringing these home in the back of my SUV. It reminded me of all the times I did that for birthday parties when my son was growing up. (sniff, sniff)
I managed to take some hurried pics for you in those last few breathless, can-I-get-it-all-done moments. I shared this table setting in the breakfast room yesterday, so if you missed it, just click on yesterday’s post for more details. I’ll share the one in the dining room for the next Tablescape Thursday.
Wish I had thought to take a photo after the desserts were all out on the sideboard. Party guests brought yummy pies and cookies. I decorated the sideboard with my Swarovski Snowflake and Star ornament collection. I’ve been collecting these for 20+ years, one per year. I have room for 5 more on these two silverplate trees. Not sure what I’ll do after that, will have to get creative for fitting them onto the branches.
Waiting in the refrigerator was a Cranberry Trifle.
I usually make this trifle during the Christmas season. Though this was a New Year’s Day party, I decided to make it anyway since it’s one of my fave desserts. And, guess what I learned? Finding fresh cranberries 6 days after Christmas is the equivalent of looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack! Seriously! All the cranberries in the entire world cease to exist, falling off the face of earth at the stroke of midnight on Christmas day. They become as rare and scarce as Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage!
Publix didn’t have any, fresh or frozen. Kroger didn’t have any, fresh or frozen. Next I headed to Harry’s, a local fresh market/farmer’s market grocer. They didn’t have any in their produce department, either. In fact their produce section was the emptiest I’d ever seen it. That’s when I really knew I was in trouble because Harry’s always has everything. It’s the store you head to when a recipe calls for some exotic spice or food you’ve never used or even heard of before. I kept thinking, “Geesh! It’s a mere six days past Christmas…how can all the stores be totally out of cranberries?!”
In one last-ditch effort, I checked out the frozen section at Harry’s. The heavens parted, the light shone down and AAAAAAHHH, there they were, packages upon packages of frozen cranberries.
I’ve never used frozen cranberries when making this dessert and wow, are they huge! The biggest, fattest cranberries I’ve ever seen! The trifle tasted just as it always has, so frozen cranberries do work just as well as fresh.
Most trifles have some type of alcohol in them but this one doesn’t. It’s a mixture of cranberries, pound cake, brown sugar, freshly grated ginger, vanilla extract, and real whipped cream. It’s topped off with homemade candied orange zest, made with organic oranges. You’ll find the recipe here: Cranberry Trifle You may have to wait until next year to make it, though…unless you have a store that stocks frozen cranberries near you.
Didn’t get a picture of the appetizers once they were served, but I did snap a quick picture while they were heating up in the oven. I was really happy with this sampler appetizer platter I ordered from Whole Foods and my guests seemed to enjoy it, too. It was just $29 for 30 big appetizers.What you see here in the oven was only half of the tray, I could only get half of the appetizers onto the cookie sheet. Later in the evening I heated up the other half. This tray included Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls, two kinds of Tamales, three kinds of Quiche (mushroom, cheese and spinach ) Spanakopita and Potstickers. It also included a sweet dip for the egg rolls.
Champagne glasses were decorated with nonpareils for a festive look.
In the past I’ve used the larger nonpareils. When I saw these teeny, tiny ones several months ago, I bought them thinking they would work better for the champagne flute rims than the bigger ones. Well, it turns out I like the bigger ones better. The teeny ones shown here, tend to kind of clump together and they just don’t look as cute as the larger ones. I think I’ll go back to using the larger nonpareils when I make this punch for New Year’s or birthday parties, etc…
I served my fave champagne punch…recipe can be found here: Champagne Punch for Christmas or New Year’s
These next two pictures were taken late that night after everyone had left. I was just about to blow out the candles and turn off the lights when I thought to take a few pics. I didn’t do a lot to the porch since it was still mostly decorated from Christmas. The porch table was decorated with a lantern surrounded by fresh magnolia leaves. I had taken the holiday pillows in but I put them back out on the swing for the night. I knew it was very unlikely anyone would want to sit here on the porch (it was 48 degrees out this day) but since the porch is visible from the kitchen, family room and even the powder room, I thought it would be nice to dress it up a bit for the party.
I love candlelight so I placed another lantern on the garden seat at this end of the porch.
I wish you could have been here in person…then it would have been a real party! I know you would have been blowing the party horns and throwing the confetti! Right?